February 20, 2012 12:00 PM

Paul McCartney

Kisses on the Bottom


As he nears the big 7-0 this year, Paul McCartney is finally ready for his Tony Bennett moment. And who can begrudge Sir Paul this collection of standards that he grew up listening to before he became known as the Cute Beatle? Heck, if Rod Stewart could do it-ad nauseam-then he certainly deserves his shot. Thankfully McCartney is better at it than Stewart, bringing an understated charm and a whimsical flair belying his age to Kisses. Clearly the newlywed is in a lovey-dovey mood on lush tunes like Irving Berlin’s “Always” that play like a Valentine’s Day serenade to his lucky bride. As if cooing in your ear, he creates a sense of intimacy. But McCartney-accompanied throughout by Diana Krall on piano-also connects with the boy inside who first heard this stuff on playful numbers like “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive.” Two new originals complete the bouquet, including closer “Only Our Hearts.” With echoes of “Till There Was You,” the song reunites McCartney with “Ebony and Ivory” cohort Stevie Wonder (on harmonica) for even more nostalgia.

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